Carl Sagan

George Basalla

in Civilized Life in the Universe

Published in print February 2006 | ISBN: 9780195171815
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199786862 | DOI:
 Carl Sagan

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Carl Sagan advised NASA on the Viking mission that landed two spacecraft on Mars (1976). In 1970, he helped prepare interstellar messenger plaques attached to NASA’s Pioneer 10 and 11, the first spacecraft to travel to outer space. The small, metal plaques contained coded, visual information about the earth intended for intelligent extraterrestrial beings. By 1977, NASA was ready to send the Voyager spacecraft with more elaborate messages for intelligent aliens: numerous recordings of terrestrial sounds and images. Sagan was deeply involved in the Pioneer and Voyager missions, both signs that America’s space agency had a growing interest in the sometimes controversial search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI).

Keywords: NASA; Pioneer; interstellar messenger plaques; SETI; Viking; Voyager

Chapter.  7596 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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